From farms to your oven

    Gluten-free white-mushroom pot pie from Jefferson Farm Kitchen in Jacksonville. Photo by Jordan Marie McCaw

    Walking into Jefferson Farm Kitchen is like walking into your grandmother’s home. The decor is homey and bright, and there are always people in the kitchen.

    The inspiration for meals prepared by Chef Kristen Lyon of Jefferson Farm Kitchen, 135 S. Oregon St., Jacksonville, comes from locally sourced ingredients — so customers can know where what they’re eating comes from.

    The menu changes each week due to the availability of seasonal ingredients. New menus are released Monday, and customers can place orders that will be ready for pick up on Friday. The food is prepared to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.

    Sharing a building with a yoga studio, Jefferson Farm Kitchen isn’t spacious by any means. A wooden picnic table is available inside the small space, but that’s about it. While customers are encouraged to order from the weekly menu, farm fresh, wholesome meals at reasonable prices are available from the freezer and refrigerator inside the store.

    Among the plethora of pot pies and quiches to choose from, I went with polenta lasagna ($14) and a gluten-free white mushroom pot pie ($13). Broths ($9 to $16), preserves, freshly made pasta, pesto ($9.50), and peach ginger kombucha ($9) in mason jars also were available.

    Pasta and corn salads, along with lettuce wraps, were available in a case by the front register. Pastries included of drop cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and other sugary sweets ($3 to $5).

    The bread used for sandwiches at Jefferson Farm Kitchen is from Rise Up Artisan Bread, and other items are available from Bee Girl Honey, Uber Herbal Teas and By George Cheeses.

    The store also sells all-purpose cleaning supplies, body soaps and lotions. All are made with natural ingredients listed on each item.

    The two women working at the store on this particular visit were pleasantly helpful in pricing the entrees I purchased, as well as instructing me on how to bake them. Instructions are labeled on each item, though the care from the women ensured quality in customer service and in the food.

    After thawing the entress, baking took only around an hour before the lasagne and pot pie were ready to eat. This is ideal for those who may not have time to shop for ingredients and prepare wholesome meals.

    Each entree was hearty and well-deserving of a second helping.

    Polenta was substituted for the pasta in the lasagna, layered between ricotta cheese, mozzarella, sweet potatoes, zucchini and tomato, and seasoned with balsamic vinegar, spinach, cayenne, thyme and sea salt. The polenta’s softness matched well with the melted cheese. The outer layers were crunchy where the cheese baked the hottest, adding a nice contrast to the softness of everything else. Lasagna isn’t lasagna without ricotta cheese, and the chefs at Jefferson Farm Kitchen agree as evidenced by its generous portions.

    The gluten-free wild mushroom pot pie’s crust was made of rice flower, tapioca flour, organic palm shortening, butter and salt. A good pot pie’s crust is flaky but not hard. This crust was more on the crumbly side. Along with the wild mushrooms, the filling included parsnips, leeks, vegetable stock, onions, carrots, peas, celery and cabbage. The pot pie wasn’t large but perfect for two. The crumbly, flaky crust and the blend of herbs and vegetables makes one nostalgic for autumn.

    The peach ginger kombucha touts lemon, apple, rosemary, and green and black teas, but peach was the most prominent flavor, and the ginger supplied a satisfying kick at the end of a long swig. Peach and ginger go together hand in hand. Everything else in the drink only enhanced those two flavors.

    Kombucha has become a popular health drink, and Jefferson Farm Kitchen may have the best flavor combinations. Past flavors have included refreshing combinations like watermelon mint.

    Overall the entrees were well-worth the hour it took to bake them, and, reasonably priced, can feed at least three people. The pastries were more on the expensive side ... around $3 for a cookie. The kombucha was pricey as well. If you return the mason jar it’s served in, you’ll receive a dollar back for the deposit.

    It should be somewhat expected to pay a dollar or two more for items containing fresh and locally sourced ingredients. For those looking for a healthy dinner or lunch who may not have time to make it to the grocery store, Jefferson Farm Kitchen is the place to go.

    Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Call 541-531-6740.

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